The first few days in your home are especially important for your Everglades Angel Dog. Your new companion will be confused about where he is and what is happening to him. Setting up some clear rules with your family for your dog will be critical in making as smooth a transition as possible.
Before the Day of Adoption:
- Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from our veterinary hospital or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Tiled floor area’s work best for easy clean-up.
- If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home. Ask EADR for advice on crate training an abandoned dog.
- Dog-proof the area where the dog will spend most of his time. Abandoned dogs have a natural curiosity for objects and since starvation is a common issue, they may attempt to swallow unsafe objects or food. Secure electrical cords with tape or tubing, store household chemicals in safe rooms or very high on shelves, remove possibly poisonous & sometimes deadly house plants and fragile items. Treat this dog as you would a small child when securing a room. Set up the crate with bedding advised by the adoption coordinator (some dogs that previously suffered from starvation or get bored easily will ingest towels which can cause blockage and emergency surgery) Install gates appropriate to the height of the dog where necessary.
- Training your dog began when he arrived at our vet facility and must be continued as instructed by the adoption coordinator. Each dog is different depending on how he or she was rescued, how long they were in the glades, how traumatized or injured they were. These dogs only know kindness from the volunteers at EADR. The most important thing to do with your dog is spend lots of time bonding. They must know that you are their safe place. Everyone in the household should use a few of the same words repetitively and they will learn what you expect from them. Remember that these dogs survived days or even years in the Everglades. They are smart and always alert. Until they are bonded with you and feel safe, they will be trying to return to EADR and the first people that showed them kindness. Keep them secure at all times with a leash harness or martingale collar provided by EADR.
- Make an ID tag at PetSmart or Pet Supermarket and bring it with you when you pick up your dog. The dog has already been microchipped. Be sure to register at Home Again as directed by the adoption coordinator, your contact information.
- Give the dog time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him. Pet finder has a very good guide on introducing children to dogs. Never allow a child to crawl, grab, pinch or put their face into the dogs face. Supervise children with any dog at all times.
- The adoption coordinator will advise on food, along with the amount to give per day. If you are switching food, add 3/4 of current diet to 1/4 of new diet for several days and decrease current diet by 1/4 ever 3 days until complete switch to new food.
- For the ride home, have a cage or a harness so that they are secured in the car.
- Upon arrival at home, take the dog to the area you want him to urinate. Take him out every hour or as often as possible, to the same spot so he will learn as his bathroom area. The dog may have a few accidents from stress. Please be patient, they learn quickly.
- If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it, in case he gets overwhelmed. Also, be very sure by talking with the volunteer coordinator that the cage is safe and sufficient to hold the dog. A collar should be removed when a dog is caged to avoid strangulation on broken cage bars.
- Remember how you felt when you met strangers for the first time. Remain calm and quiet around your new companion. Learn about your dog and let him learn about you before you take him to dog parks, out in public buildings or around children.
- Abandoned dogs are traumatized at losing their family, being dropped in a strange and very scary place and heaven only knows the life they had before abandonment. Once abandoned, they may have seen unbelievable horror. They had no water or food and mosquitos and ticks were endlessly biting them. They slept for only minutes and awoke to fear. Hand or body movements known to dogs, brought up in a normal environment, may be totally foreign to your new dog. Scary are fast hand movements over the head, especially if they have been beaten in their past. Show compassion to your new dog, while at the same time, give them the safe feeling of having a pack leader. Allowing them to possess you only causes problems in the future. They know the worst and are so grateful for any kindness. Go slow, give love and you will be gifted with an amazing, smart and loyal Everglades Angel Dog.